Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Unwieldies, The All Togethers and Brandon Madejek at the Huntridge Tavern


The Huntridge Tavern has always been a fave place of mine to see bands as well as to play. Great staff, cheap drinks, and the intimacy of a small, generally packed bar. The bands set up in a tiny alcove with patrons sitting and standing directly in front of them so that the "audience" is as much a part of the show as the "entertainers". 

This evening of acoustic music opened with a solo Brandon Madejek, aka Whiskey Breath, a gentleman with a powerful, whiskey-soaked yet melodic voice and a writer of songs about, yes, whiskey, as well as relationships, audiences ignoring the entertainers, a new one about a "Mountain Man" and a non-pc number about domestic abuse that has gotten him into trouble with some people without a sense of humor. Whether alone of with other members (Whiskey Breath has at times been a full band, a duo and a solo, and he has played in the All Togethers, as well), Brandon has the singing and songwriting talent to always entertain in a fun and funny manner. For this set, Brenna, from the All Togethers, sat in on cello for a couple of numbers and Ken AT sang some background, as these friends all know each other's material.




The All Togethers were up next with their self-described Hillbilly Jazz with husband/wife team of Ken (vocals/mandolin) and Cindy (upright bass/vocals) joined by Brenna (cello/vocals) and Michael (guitar vocals) in this permutation. I've ranted'n'raved about these cats'n'kittens innumerable times as they are one of my fave acts in town, acoustic or otherwise. Terrific songwriting (they performed tunes from their various recordings, as well as a couple of new numbers), kind of amazing four part harmonies and some fairly wacky covers, like a Salt'n'Pepper track (so I was told, as I know nothing of the genre and this kind of silliness goes over my head usually) and a mandolin driven "Baba O'Reilly". The AT's believe in imbibing the hooch as they play and encourage the audience to do so, as well (not that much encouragement is needed at the Huntridge) and everyone came together for a hip'n'happening good time.




Another of my fave acoustic acts are my friends in the Unwieldies. With another husband and wife team (Danielle on vocals and guitar and Rob on vocals'n'bass) joined by Jack on violin (and usually Richard on dobro, although he couldn't make it this time out), the Un's own style of singer/ songwriting "acoustic derangements" are driven by the contrast of Dani's pure'n'lovely voice and Rob's gruffly melodic tones with Jack's violin soaring sweetly'n'dramatically over it all. More fine songwriting about relationships and the world in general and their own weird'n'unexpected covers of numbers like "Billy Jean". As with everyone else this night, their personalities'n'humor brought the crowd together for a frolicking and rollicking funtime.





Thank you to Kate and the Huntridge Tavern for hosting nights of amazing local music, from acoustic interludes like this to wild punk rock and everything in between. Support these bastions of musical merriment and inebriation whenever you can!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

recommended gigs

Thursday Aug 16 - Nobodys, Jerk!, Three Rounds at Evel Pie
Thursday Aug 16 - Brandon Madejek at the Double Down

Friday Aug 17 - the All Togethers and the Unwieldies with Sissy Brown at the Huntridge Tavern

Saturday Aug 18 - Dirk Vermin and the Hostile Talent at the Double Down
Saturday Aug 18 - Punk Rock Flea Market at the Fremont Country Club with Franks'n'Deans, Time Crashers, Los Carajos, Battering Ham

Sunday Aug 19 - the Hellacopters play Psycho Las Vegas at the Joint with lots more bands

Monday Aug 20 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Aug 22 - Thee Swank Bastards with the Gunrunners at the Double Down

Thursday Aug 23 - Michigan Rattlers with the All Togethers, Paige Overton and Jeff Mix and the Songhearts at the Bunkhouse

Friday Aug 24 - Jack White at the Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan
Friday Aug 24 - the Delta Bombers, the Rhyolite Sound, Franks'n'Deans at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Aug 25 - Lita Ford at the Cannery
Saturday Aug 25 - Cashed Out with the All Togethers at Cornish Pasty

Sunday Aug 26 - Cracker with the All Togethers at the Beauty Bar
Sunday Aug 26 - Swinging Utters with Franks'n'Deans, Lost in Society, Brock Frabbiele at the Dive Bar

Monday Aug 27 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Aug 29 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Thursday Aug 30 - Monster Zero at the Double Down

Friday Aug 31 - the Mapes, the Sheiks of Neptune, 1/2 Ast, Undercover Monsters, Lean 13 at the Dive Bar

Saturday Sept 1 - the Psyatics, Vigil and Thieves, Analog Law, the MFA at the Double Down

Thursday Sept 6 - Sunday Sept 9 - the Las Vegas Tiki Weekender at the Thunderbird Motel with Thee Swank Bastards, Durango 66, Franks'n'Deans and more

Friday Sept 7 - Hot Tuna at Brooklyn Bowl

Saturday Sept 8 - Stagnetti's Cock, Negative Nancys and more at the Double Down

Saturday Sept 15 - the Unwieldies, the Riflemen, Whiskey Breath, Lawn Mower Death Riders at the Double Down

Thursday Sept 20 - David Liebe Hart with the Time Crashers and Sheiks of Neptune at the Beauty Bar

Monday Sept 24 - Shonen Knife at the Beauty Bar

Thursday Sept 27 - the Psyatics with Ancient River at the Griffin

Saturday Sept 29 - Negative Nancys, Laissez Fairs, Implosions, Stagnetti's Cock at the Double Down

Sat Oct 6 - The Swamp Gospel, the Implosions, Water Landing, the Psyatics at the Double Down for Nikki's birthday

Friday Oct 26 - Negative Nancys, Shanda and the Howlers, the Pluralses, Cromm Fallon at the Double Down

Saturday Oct 27 - the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Bunkhouse
Saturday Oct 27 - the Damned, the Darts at House of Blues

Saturday Nov 2 - the Rayford Bros at Clark County Library

Friday Nov 16 - Billy Gibbons (solo) at Brooklyn Bowl

Saturday Nov 17 - Ghost at the Joint
Saturday Nov 17 - the Heiz and the Implosions at Evel Pie

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

RIP Aretha Franklin


Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, has died
---
She truly deserved the title. There will be no one quite like her again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Pink Floyd - Ummagumma

Although I have never been too much of an experimenter, I have always held a fondness for mind expansion/altering and psychedelic (although not usually progressive) music. I discovered Pink Floyd in the early 70's, after Sid, but well before their commercial success with more pop-oriented songs. This, their fourth album, was an exercise for the members in that they were all given a portion of the record to perform solo pieces with no input from the others. Being a double-album set, they also included a live record of the group performing selections from Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Relics and Saucerful of Secrets.

The live record consisted of a total of four songs, as they opted for long pieces where they could stretch out on solos, work with dynamics and incorporate hypnotically repeating riffs, ambient noises, echo'd slide guitar, and hair-raising shrieks. The set opened with "Astronomy Domine", Syd Barrett's intro to Piper... that moved into the murderous "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" and, on the flip, "Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun" and "A Saucerful of Secrets".

The studio album is home to the member's personal workouts, starting with keyboardist Richard Wright's "Sysyphus (Parts I-IV)", a somewhat classical treatise, utilizing several different styles of keyboards along with percussion, which he also performed. In "Part 3", he adds sound effects and affected vocals before returning to spacey/noisy keys for the final, "Part IV", and reprising the theme from "Part I". Bassist Roger Waters is up next and opts for an acoustic ballad in "Grantchester Meadows" in which he plays guitar and bass and harmonizes with himself. In his humorously titled "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave Grooving With a Pict" he also combines percussion and treated vocals for a very trippy piece.

Dave Gilmour's "The Narrow Way (Parts 1-3)" also commences with a ballad-y acoustic guitar piece (with some extraneous, psychedelic flourishes) which segues into "Part 2", the heaviest bit on the second record, with a ferocious'n'evil-sounding electric guitar riff that has more trippy elements running over it. In "Part 3", it quiets down again for a harmony-driven tune reminiscent of his work on Dark Side of the Moon. For drummer Nick Mason's segment, "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" he has a little help from an uncredited flautist (his wife, Lindy) and proceeds to run his drum kit through a number of different effects for the three parts of this odyssey.

Definitely for acid-rock/psych-heads only, but quality stuff. This has always been one of my fave post-Syd albums.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The (International) Noise Conspiracy - Survival Sickness

This is T(I)NC's debut album and it is a much more fully realized group than the one who recorded the singles that were compiled in The First Conspiracy. The sound is powerful and the mix of garage, punk and noise is in full force, as is their lyrical bent, which is described in fuller detail in the liner notes.

Frantic, rollickin' riffs launch "I Wanna Know About U", that mixes singalong lyrics with punk rock energy and dynamics. The rhythms in "Subversive Sound" are somewhat off-kilter, but still damn catchy, even as they switch segments of the song and damn near smash the chords out of the speakers. "Smash It Up" (not the Damned songs) starts with a slower, mellower groove that percolates and pulsates and alternates with some raucous screams, "(I've Got) Survival Sickness" moves from almost a ballad to a garage rocker with plenty of proper accents, "The Reproduction of Death" is somewhat Kinks-y in its frenzied garage-ness (dig the quiet mid-sections and repeated "Yeahs!"), and there's a plethora of punk in the garage of "Impostor Costume".

"Intermission" is pretty much ambient sounds, "Only Lovers Left Alive" is a tough, rhythmic rocker, "Do I Have To Spell It Out" is kinda bouncy, of all things, and reliant on an insistent bass drum and percussive vocals, "Will It Ever Be Quiet" is, appropriately enough, an atmospheric ballad but they are back with an agitated pace in "Enslavement Blues" and the delirious off-time of "Ready Steady Go!" (nothing to do with any other song of that title).

These cats are highly original, highly political and highly rockin'! Really dig what they were doing and hope that they will do more one day.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Implosions, Lambs to Lions at Evel Pie, Friday August 10, 2018

Unfortunately, outdoor shows in Las Vegas are rarely a good idea, but especially so when it is 100 + degrees at 10:00 pm. At Evel Pie the bands play in a outdoor back patio, but at least you can go inside for some a/c, drinks and even some pretty darn good pizza.

We got to the venue a little late and just caught the tail end of Lambs to Lions, a self-described "drunk punk" band that has a keyboard player which gives them a variation on the sorta typical LV punk rock sound. Sorry to say, I did not hear enough to really form a strong opinion on the band - next time! 


Of course, we came out to support our pals, the Implosions, as they tried to avoid heat stroke during their set of 70's styled punk rock with a bit of garage and Cramps-ian influences mixed in. It had been a little while since we had last seen this new combo and they have obviously been working hard at pulling their sound together and becoming more cohesive and tighter. Husband'n'wife rhythm section Clay'n'Denise hold down the fort while husband'n'wife guitar'n'vocal team Dave'n'Adrienne layer different sounds (Dave have a board of home-made pedals give him various fuzz, tremelo and mystery tones) and move from croons to harsh screams, as the songs demand. All lyrics are based on Las Vegas, from casinos imploding, to playing the ponies, to photos with a million dollars and lots more. Super fun and sounding better all the time! Dig 'em!













I'm sorry to say that the heat got the better of us and we split before we could see the co-headliners of the Pluralses and Jerk! as they celebrated the release of their split CD. Hopefully, I will pick up a copy soon to review.

Friday, August 10, 2018

The (International) Noise Conspiracy - Armed Love

I am an extreme late-comer to T(I)NC, but have become a huge fan of their poppy, high-energy, garage-punk'n'roll. This one is their third studio album and the first that was produced by Rick Ruben. I do think that Rubin was on a roll about this time (2004) and did a great job capturing the sound of a number of different artists.

Powerful guitars blast out the opening two-note riff and heavy chords of the stompin' "Black Mask", an impossibly catchy, head-boppin' punk'n'roller and an amazing intro to the record. Pumpin' bass and 60's styled organ introduces "The Way I Feel About You", a terrific pop-rocker - man, these guys could write memorable melodies! There's some 70's-rock chords and more energetic catchiness in "Let's Make History", guitars are set to stun in the title track, more sing-along rockin' in "Like a Landslide", a cool, stuttering rhythm drives "A Small Demand" and a hip sax solo appears while "The Dream Is Over" is another of their wild mixes of 70's rock'n'punk, with accented rhythms and piano-poundin'.

Keith Moon-ish drums propels "This Side of Heaven", there's a breather in the almost ballad-y "All in All" (that still has plenty of edge), their politics come to the forefront in the organ-driven  "Communist Moon", an excess of intensity compels "A Voice of Our Own" that has more cool Jon Lord-like B3 organ and call'n'answer choruses and it all comes to a end with the rock-groove of "Guns For Everyone".

Damn, I wish I had a chance to catch these cats in their prime! Highly recommended!

Foghat - Energized

I confess to being a fan of blues/boogie/rockers Foghat and their simple, twin-guitar attack. Back in the 70's you were always grateful when anything with edgy guitars appeared on the radio, and Foghat managed to rack up a few hits, starting with their classic take on "I Just Wanna Make Love To You" from their debut album. For a while there, they were on a roll and had numerous rockin' hits and while this album isn't quite as consistent as some of their others, it's still a rocker!

Opening with their take on the "Train Kept A'Rollin'" rip of "Honey Hush", they smoke it out with fiery guitars, lots of energy, cool riffs and catchy chorus. They change course dramatically for a funky/pop/disco number in "Step Outside", an experiment that really didn't work. "Golden Arrow" is a decent Foghat-styled blues-boogie, followed by one of their catchier tunes, the hard rockin' sing-along "Home in my Hand". "Wild Cherry" is a frantic, Chuck Berry-ish, harmony-lead-guitars'n'slide romp, "That'll Be the Day" is the Buddy Holly number rocked up with some new, Foghat-y sections, "Fly By Night" is nice but not too special offering from their bassist, Tony Stevens, and the finale, "Nothin' I Won't Do" is a fun, riff-laden 70's boogie/rocker.

Not incredible, but a solid, 70's-rock offering from their blues-based combo. Certainly worthwhile!

Ugly Things #48 - Summer/Fall 2018

Of course, you know by now that Ugly Things is the zine to get for the low down on cool'n'obscure - and sometimes well known - rock'n'roll from the primordial past, and occasionally the primitive present. As the years and decades go on, Mike Stax and company have expanded their musical reach and rant'n'rave about music from earlier'n'later than the original 60's garage theme. In this jam-packed ish, there are stories on the heavy psych of the Other Half, then back in time for an overview on Elvis (making Elvis interesting in the millennia is difficult, but Harvey Kubernik does a good job), the Skulls (punk rock from Vancouver), 60's psych from Moby Grape and considerably more, including plenty of garage groups. Of course, there are also offering on the Pretty Things, the Flaming Groovies, the Choir and others, as well as an insane amount of reviews of books'n'records that will, as I always say, make you run to wish list with tons of additions.

C'mon, it's Ugly Things! You know that you want'n'need it - go get it!


Thursday, August 09, 2018

recommended gigs

Friday Aug 10 - Jerk/the Pluralses and the Implosions at Evel Pie
Friday Aug 10 - Strange Mistress, DomiNiki, and Tracey Hope at the Beauty Bar

Saturday Aug 11 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down
Saturday Aug 11 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki
Saturday Aug 11 - the Unwieldies at the Dillinger

Monday Aug 13 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Tuesday Aug 14 - Gold Top Bob at the Sand Dollar

Thursday Aug 16 - Nobodys, Jerk!, Three Rounds at Evel Pie

Friday Aug 17 - the All Togethers and the Unwieldies with Sissy Brown at the Huntridge Tavern

Saturday Aug 18 - Dirk Vermin and the Hostile Talent at the Double Down
Saturday Aug 18 - Punk Rock Flea Market at the Fremont Country Club with Franks'n'Deans, Time Crashers, Los Carajos, Battering Ham

Sunday Aug 19 - the Hellacopters play Psycho Las Vegas at the Joint with lots more bands

Monday Aug 20 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Aug 22 - Thee Swank Bastards with the Gunrunners at the Double Down

Friday Aug 24 - Jack White at the Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan
Friday Aug 24 - the Delta Bombers, the Rhyolite Sound, Franks'n'Deans at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Aug 25 - Lita Ford at the Cannery
Saturday Aug 25 - Cashed Out with the All Togethers at Cornish Pasty

Sunday Aug 26 - Cracker with the All Togethers at the Beauty Bar
Sunday Aug 26 - Swinging Utters with Franks'n'Deans, Lost in Society, Brock Frabbiele at the Dive Bar

Monday Aug 27 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Aug 29 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Thursday Aug 30 - Monster Zero at the Double Down

Friday Aug 31 - the Mapes, the Sheiks of Neptune, 1/2 Ast, Undercover Monsters, Lean 13 at the Dive Bar

Saturday Sept 1 - the Psyatics, Vigil and Thieves, Analog Law, the MFA at the Double Down

Thursday Sept 6 - Sunday Sept 9 - the Las Vegas Tiki Weekender at the Thunderbird Motel with Thee Swank Bastards, Durango 66, Franks'n'Deans and more

Friday Sept 7 - Hot Tuna at Brooklyn Bowl

Saturday Sept 15 - the Unwieldies, the Riflemen, Whiskey Breath, Lawn Mower Death Riders at the Double Down

Thursday Sept 20 - David Liebe Hart with the Time Crashers and Sheiks of Neptune at the Beauty Bar

Monday Sept 24 - Shonen Knife at the Beauty Bar

Thursday Sept 27 - the Psyatics with Ancient River at the Griffin

Saturday Sept 29 - Negative Nancys, Laissez Fairs, Implosions, Stagnetti's Cock at the Double Down

Sat Oct 6 - The Swamp Gospel, the Implosions, Water Landing, the Psyatics at the Double Down for Nikki's birthday

Friday Oct 26 - Negative Nancys, Shanda and the Howlers, the Pluralses, Cromm Fallon at the Double Down

Saturday Oct 27 - the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Bunkhouse
Saturday Oct 27 - the Damned, the Darts at House of Blues

Friday Nov 16 - Billy Gibbons (solo) at Brooklyn Bowl

Saturday Nov 17 - Ghost at the Joint
Saturday Nov 17 - the Heiz and the Implosions at Evel Pie

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Peter Perrett - How the West Was Won

Truthfully, I am not that knowledgeable about Perrett's legendary 70's/80's band, the Only Ones, other than their terrific "Another Girl, Another Planet" (that Jeff Dahl turned me onto when we covered it together). This 2017 release is his debut solo release, so I had no idea what to expect from it and on first listen it did not knock me out, but it has really grown on me after just a few turns around the CD player.

As I said, I had no expectations for this, but was initially a little disappointed in the overall mellowness, but I realize that belies a bit of a controlled intensity and some damn good songwriting and playing.

Opening with the title cut, this reminds me of a mix of Lou Reed (solo) and Mott the Hoople (oddly, with a little George Harrison) doing "Sweet Jane" - right down to the guitar licks. This is not a complaint though - I really enjoy this variation on the theme and his imagery and lyrics are strong, even the weird shout out to Kim Kardashian! "An Epic Story" switches back and forth from a mellow ballad to a drum smasher (although the guitars lack an edge), "Hard to Say No" is a bit moody and dramatic, almost gothic, but with nice rhythmic touches, "Troika" is odd pop and "Living in my Head" is another atmospheric number, that is simply but well written and has some excellent, almost psychedelic, guitar work (I think this song is the one that stuck out to me initially).

There's more of his own brand of pop in "Man of Extremes", "Sweet Endeavour" is reminiscent of something that eludes me, but has nice dynamics and energy, "C Voyeurger" is quiet and ethereal yet still catchy, "Something in my Brain" is somewhat of a combination of the Velvets and Patti Smith, with some properly heavy guitars punching through for dynamics and another great solo, and "Take Me Home" somewhat appropriately concludes the deal with another generally delicate number that benefits from powerful guitar interludes.

Probably not something that I will listen to all of the time, but I do appreciate the songwriting and the guitar work here. Nicely done!

The New York Dolls - Paris Le Trash

Just one more Dolls for now! This is a live recording of the band in 1974, on the verge of their final breakup, but coming up for air one more time, showing that they could still deliver the proverbial goods.

The sound here is actually pretty damn good (was this a radio show? There is a lengthy French introduction to start things off..Ah yes, I see that it was.) and the band kicks in with proper power'n'swagger on "Personality Crisis" and waste no time blasting out the two-guitar  terror of "Bad Girl" with both Johnny and Sylvain playing especially well and Nolan propelling things into the rock'n'roll stratosphere. After a brief "merci" they kick into an explosive'n'dynamic "Looking For a Kiss", then David tries out some French to announce their super-fun take on "Great Big Kiss" with a rave-up that incorporates a little bit of "Shout!", as well, Johnny ribs Johansen's attempts at French as he introduces Nolan for a fun romp through "Stranded in the Jungle" (where David forgets some words, but pulls it together).

This is actually a pretty remarkable set for a band that was on the brink of destruction - the playing is fantastic all around and they are playing as a band - working together, showing off their strengths and covering up their weaknesses. "Pills" is damn near perfect, as is "Vietnamese Baby" with its extended, frantic solo sequence, there's more amped up fun in "Trash", Thunders takes lead vocals for his wonderful "Milk Me"/"Chatterbox", then there's a break for technical difficulties that is long enough that the announcer comes back in for a second before they blast through "Puss'n'Boots". They weren't writing much at this point so for something new (to them) they went back to their bluesy roots for a pretty straight-forward "Hoochie Coochie Man" (which is kinda out of character for them, in that it doesn't have the humor that their other bluesy covers did, although they do a good job) that segues right into the finale, "Jet Boy", that stretches out a bit as it rants'n'raves righteously.

For some reason, the studio versions of "Looking For a Kiss", "Who Are the Mystery Girls", "Chatterbox" and "Human Being" are tacked on the end of the CD - no idea why and there is no explanation in the insert. (These are actually other mixes, but the differences are pretty minute with the exception of "Human Being", which is either a divergent take altogether or just a variation on the sax and vocal overdubs.)

In any case, this CD shows just how incendiary and damn near perfect this band could be when they were "on", as they were this night. Yes, David's attempts at french are pretty silly, but otherwise, everyone is locked in and there to give a great rock'n'roll performance. I will forever be bummed that I never got to see them in their hey-day.